For the week of 4/18/18, Action Comics ruled the Comixology sales chart and Critical Role returns as the most popular Digital First series.

And yes, this is a week without 99¢ Marvel books on the chart (although a sale copy of All-Star Superman was at #22, so sales still move books).

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Action Comics (2016-) Issue #1000 51,534 19
2 Batman (2016-) Issue #45 91,649 8
3 Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Issue #6 Digital First
4 Mister Miracle (2017-) Issue #8 40,337 34
5 Superman (2016-) Issue #45 42,291 32
6 Justice League (2016-) Issue #43 43,675 31
7 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #54 Digital First
8 Amazing Spider-Man (2015-) Issue #799 128,189 3
9 Avengers (2016-) Issue #689 44,596 28
10 Super Sons (2017-) Issue #15 28,999 65
11 Infinity Countdown (2018-) Issue #2 (of 5) 93,029 7
12 X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #26 35,008 42
13 Nightwing (2016-) Issue #43 26,951 75
14 Lazarus Issue #27 12,348 179 – Mar ’17
15 Black Panther (2016-) Issue #172 24,304 90
16 Ms. Marvel (2015-) Issue #29 13,724 145
17 Star Wars: Poe Dameron (2016-) Issue #26 24,565 88
18 The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman (2018-) Issue #3 31,831 49
19 Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #45 24,780 85
20 Aquaman (2016-) Issue #35 24,323 89

Should we be surprised that Action Comics #1000 is the bestselling digital issue of the week?  Absolutely not.  Everything I’ve been hearing is that it’s been a big hit selling through in the brick & mortar world.  On the other hand, this is an excellent illustration of why there’s a debate about the pricing of digital comics.  A $7.99 download is the top one of the week and that means a lot of people are willing to pay the print list price for digital.  And it likely sold better on Comixology than most of the $0.99 sale books.

Batman is thus bumped down to #2, which is understandable in the circumstances.  At #3 we find the new issue of Dark Horse’s digital first powerhouse Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins.

Mister Miracle continues its run outperforming in digital.  It’s a little harder to get a bead on it this week as the gap between Batman and Superman is usually pretty wide, but it fits in there somewhere.  Superman and Justice League flip flop their print positions in the manner we’ve been told happens since digital releases first started.  And then there’s Amazing Spider-Man.

Spidey is a very, very hot book in the print world, yet on the Comixology charts, it’s pretty much stayed in the same place.  Most likely there’s a healthy amount of speculation on these books centering on the Red Goblin, but it could be that this story arc is just attracting more new readers in print than digitally.  Still, as the print version heats up, the difference in sales levels keeps getting more striking.

Avengers is right about where you’d expect it to be.  Super Sons is outperforming in digital to a large degree.  YA content is likely a factor.  $2.99 in digital vs. $3.99 in print may well be a factor, too.  But it’s a pretty big jump.  To counterbalance this, Infinity Countdown appears way down… but then again, we’re working from the DM orders on the first issue of an Event title.  There’s always a big drop and variant covers aren’t a thing in digital.  Its selling in digital like a ~35-44K print circulation title, which would seem a bit low for a Marvel Event.

The next part of the chart is a bit more difficult to interpret and hinges on whether Brave & the Bold is under performing in digital or is selling consistent with last month’s orders – and with a third issue, it would reasonable to assume at least a small drop from the second.

Nightwing usually performs a little better in digital, so it’s probably still the case here.  Lazarus is probably way up with that big proportional bump the Image A-list books get.  The last issue came out a year ago, so things may have changed, but it seems unlikely the new issue was ordered into the DM at ~25K copies.

If B&B is down from issue #2, then Black Panther is probably ever so slightly over performing in digital, but everything else at the end of the chart is more or less where you’d expect it with books tightly clustered around 24.5K in print sales and close enough that a shuffling a couple places isn’t really a particularly notable thing — except for Ms. Marvel.  Coming in at #16, Ms. Marvel continues to perform better in digital, selling in the midst of books with nearly double Ms. Marvel‘s print sales.

Methodology and standard disclaimers:

The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 4/22) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron March chart, or from March 2017 in the case of Lazarus, since we probably shouldn’t count the recent mini-series the same as the original title.

The conventional wisdom that’s been handed down over the last few years is that the digital audience has more of less the same reading habits as the Direct Market Print audience.  I’ve had multiple publishers tell me that digital sales of new issues are roughly 10-15% of print sales and the titles more or less have the same proportional popularity in digital as in print.  Maybe a couple titles switch places on the sales ranking list, but largely the same.  The bestsellers on the newsstand were not always the same bestsellers as in the Direct Market, so it doesn’t seem like that should necessarily be the case with digital.  There will be a little bit of mismatch because these are more weekly than monthly ranks and it isn’t clear exactly how Comixology defines the reporting periods, but if you look at comics sales, you learn to live with the data available.

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics

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